Developing and delivering effective feedback

Education expert Narissa Leung explains how teachers can use the High Impact Teaching Strategy of feedback to improve student learning.

According to John Hattie, while feedback is among the most powerful moderators of learning, its effects are among the most variable because good feedback is a difficult skill to learn.

In her masterclass, Narissa Leung will look at how teachers can build their capacity to give regular and tailored constructive feedback to students. Narissa will also discuss strategies that teachers can use to empower students to also give and receive effective feedback, bolstering their peer-to-peer collaborative skills. Effective feedback processes between teachers and students, and between students will lead to positive student learning outcomes and foster stronger student ownership and understanding of the learning process.

What feedback should we give

Teacher student feedback should be precise and timely

'Effective feedback will be unpacked in this Masterclass. It will assist teachers in their understanding and use of constructive feedback approaches within classes.' said Narissa.

'Feedback should be precise, and largely linked to learning intentions and success criteria, as these are things we need to communicate to students. This approach will support students to have greater agency and understanding of both the learning intentions for a lesson or unit of work as well as their progress within it.'

Creating learning intentions and success criteria that are achievable

By establishing quality learning intentions and being explicit about "what is a good example of success," Narissa, hopes to show teachers how they can bring students into the conversation, and they can understand where they need to be in their learning.

'Through the masterclass, we're going to look at how teachers should be setting learning intentions and appropriate success criteria as well as lessons that ensure that the kids have the opportunity to achieve the goals of the lesson.'

'This is going to be a large focus of the masterclass because these are things we need to communicate to students to engage their metacognitive skills, support independent learning, build student agency and develop their self-regulation.'

'Try to think; "what do I want the students to learn," "how do I articulate that," "what would be a good way of learning that" and "what is a good example of success".'

'We can't give effective feedback unless what we're doing in the classroom allows students to enact, practice or demonstrate the intended skill.'

Putting learning intentions and success criteria into the hands of students

'Hattie says that the aim of feedback is to reduce the gap from where students are and where they aim to be.'

'So unless we have a clear idea of where this lesson is going and what the expected outcomes are, we can't tell if students are making successful gains.'

'Part of the feedback process I'm going to take teachers through is also how to put learning intentions and success criteria in the hands of the students.'

'Previously teachers were holding this information. By bringing students into the conversation students now know where they need to be.'

When and where should we give feedback

Structuring lessons to allow for reflection time

'Often I see the reflection part of the lesson is lost, either because we've run out of time or it's no longer focused on the learning intention.'

'Losing this part of the lesson means that we're not rounding that learning intention effectively and we're not providing the opportunities for students to self-evaluate against the success criteria.'

'As a result, we're devaluing the time they have to think about their own learning and any feedback we've given.'

How should we give feedback

Starting with admiration before deficit

'Feedback is something that needs to happen throughout a lesson, so that students can have the time to reflect on what we've said and then start to apply their understanding of that feedback in their work.'

'In the masterclass, we will also look at the idea of using an admiring lens vs a deficit lens. Usually our feedback approach starts with this deficit lens – what's not working for the student – which can be quite demoralising.'

'It's important for students to know how they are progressing towards their goals and what they are doing well. This contributes to the growth mindset for students and allows feedback to be a welcome part of the learning process.'

Helping parents and students to teach through feedback

'Hopefully we can also build confidence in students and model for them constructive phrasing and ways of providing feedback that they can use with peers.'

'Framing feedback in such a way can also assist parents with understanding the learning that their child is engaged in, and may even support parents to learn to give feedback in the same way.'

Making the most of the Victorian Teaching and Learning Model

High Impact teaching strategies

The HITS that Narissa explores are 10 instructional practices that reliably increase student learning wherever they are applied. For more information about the approaches to explore them further, refer to High Impact Teaching Strategies (PDF 2.47mb)

Feedback in formative assessment

Effective feedback is an integral part of formative assessment practices in the classroom. For more information and support in developing strong practices, refer to Professional Practice Note #6: Formative assessment (DOC 417.54kb)

Supporting student voice in the classroom

Strong feedback practices can help students develop an ownership of their learning as they reflect on their own place in the classroom. For more information about developing student agency in your classroom, refer to Amplify, Empowering students through voice, agency and leadership – Student voice practice guide.